Rhode Island solar panels: local pricing and installation data

Over 15,000 homeowners in Rhode Island have used EnergySage to receive & compare solar panel installation quotes!

Updated 4/20/2024

Solar Data Explorer:

Out-of-pocket cost  
Net 20-year savings  
Payback period  
Electricity bill offset  

Solar installation costs do not include the 30% federal investment tax credit or local incentives.

Save money by installing solar panels in RI.

Thanks to solar incentives and programs like SolarWise Rhode Island, residents of the Ocean State are saving thousands on their electricity bills.

Solar in Rhode Island

Simple map of Rhode Island with a map pin showing a roof with installed solar panels

Small but mighty, the tiny state of Rhode Island has been at the forefront of renewable energy policy for decades. The Ocean State is home to some of the best solar incentives in the nation, including a great RPS law, small-scale solar grants, net metering, and the Renewable Energy Growth program. Rhode Island continues to beat out larger states for solar installations and policies, demonstrating it’s one of the best places in the nation to go solar.

How much do solar panels cost in Rhode Island?

From Rhode Island data, it is shown that the average cost of a solar panel installation ranges from $15,215 to $20,585. On a cost per watt ($/W) basis, a solar panel installation in Rhode Island ranges in price from $3.04 to $4.12. See how Rhode Island compares to solar panel costs across the U.S.

How long does it take to earn back your initial investment in solar panels? A solar payback period is the amount of time it takes for property owners who install solar panels to recover their initial investment through electricity savings. In Rhode Island, the average solar payback period is 8.36 years.

Regardless of the exact cost of installation, there are many affordable financing options for solar panel systems. Cash purchases are one common method to pay for solar and often lead to the most long-term value for your money. If an upfront purchase isn’t right for you, solar loans and solar lease/PPAs are available to help finance a solar energy system.

Solar companies in Rhode Island

Check out solar installers in nearby cities

See the cost of solar in RI cities and towns

$15,215 – $20,585

Check Prices

What solar panels should I install in Rhode Island?

Rendering of a person considering multiple types of solar panels

For property owners, you now can customize your solar panels, inverters, racking systems, and batteries, as well as the general aesthetic of the installation. This customizability has made it important for solar consumers to understand these various factors. For example, the best solar panels available may have premium efficiencies and warranties, but will typically be more costly. However, depending on the size of the installation, you’ll need to determine whether high-efficiency solar panels that can produce more electricity are worthwhile. Also, your appetite for risk can help determine which solar warranties best fit your needs. These are just a few of the many factors to consider when selecting solar panel equipment.

How much energy can I get from solar in Rhode Island?

Map pin with a lightning bolt logo

Aside from the power output of the solar equipment you choose to install, the amount of energy you generate with solar panels in Rhode Island is directly related to the amount of sunlight that hits your panels. Compared to other New England states, Rhode Island gets a decent amount of sun per day, helping make solar a sound investment.

There are additional factors that determine how much solar electricity you can produce. These include shading and panel angle, which are used to calculate your total production estimate. a prediction of how much energy your solar installation will produce over time. This evaluation offers a clear estimate of how much energy your solar installation will produce. You can see how much solar panels can save you based on factors like geographic location and shading by using the EnergySage Solar Calculator.

Rhode Island solar incentives

Solar incentives in Rhode Island can help you reduce the overall price of going solar. Learn more about why solar panels are such a great investment in Rhode Island.

Learn about solar incentives in RI

What rebates and incentives are there in Rhode Island for solar?

The federal investment tax credit, now referred to as the Residential Clean Energy Credit for residential systems, has been one of the most reliable and impactful incentives for solar across the U.S. This solar incentive allows you to deduct 30 percent of the total system cost from your federal taxes. For example, a solar energy system installation that costs $15,000 out of pocket will qualify for a tax deduction of $4,500. For residential systems, this advantageous incentive lasts until the end of 2032 at which point it steps down to 26 percent. The federal ITC drops to 22 percent in 2034 and is eliminated for residential solar installations in 2035. Commercial systems are eligible at least through 2024, but may not be eligible for the full 30 percent depending on certain labor and domestic manufacturing requirements; they also may be eligible for specific ITC adders.

Besides the federal ITC, Rhode Island has additional incentives for going solar that are dependent on your area and utility company. Of note are small-scale solar grants, renewable energy tax credit, property and sales tax breaks, and net metering programs. Additionally, one of the state’s most exciting developments is the Renewable Energy Growth program! To learn more about Rhode Island’s best financial incentives for solar, check out our complete overview of the state’s best solar incentives.

testimonial video

EnergySage helps you go solar

We are your solar allies. We provide a transparent and easy shopping process, and promise you’ll have all the information you need to go solar with confidence.

Learn more about EnergySage

History of solar policy in Rhode Island

Rhode Island punches well above its weight on solar: although SEIA reported in 2018 that the state ranks 34th in the nation with about 120 megawatts (MW) of installed solar energy capacity, Rhode Island has achieved half of that capacity in 2018 alone. The rapid growth of the industry in-state did not happen overnight, though, as it has taken years of state legislation to make Rhode Island an ideal solar market.

Rhode Island’s first major solar policy was passed in 1981, when the state implemented Solar Easements regulations. Although the policy doesn’t focus on financial incentives, it recognized solar energy usage as a property right and ensured that proper sunlight is made available to those who operate solar-energy systems.

Rhode Island next passed solar policies in 1996, when the state’s electric-utility restructuring legislation required utilities to create one of the first public benefits fund in the nation. Known as the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (REF), the funding for this organization comes from a $0.0003 per kWh surcharge on resident’s utility bill and is administered by CommerceRI.

At the turn of the century, Rhode Island made major strides in clean energy by enacting a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in 2004. Across the country, state energy requirements have been instrumental to the development of clean energy. Officially titled the Renewable Energy Standard (RES) in Rhode Island, legislators created a top-rated program requiring utilities to supply 38.5 percent of their electricity sales with renewable resources by the end of 2035.

The next significant solar policy to pass is the state’s 2011 net metering program, which makes solar more financially attractive to Rhode Island residents. Throughout the nation, net metering programs have allowed residents to send surplus net energy to the electric grid and receive compensation for it on their energy bill. In Rhode Island, RI Energy offers the top program in the state and every utility credits net surplus at the avoided-cost rate. In 2016, policymakers extended the reach of net metering by raising the capacity limit of the program to 10 MW, as well as by approving community remote net metering so that residents can still use solar without having to install their own installation.

Beyond these policies, Rhode Island has developed a few other notable financial incentives to make solar more accessible to everyone. The first of these were the Small-Scale Solar Grants and Commercial Scale Renewable Grants policies, which were created in 2013 and use the Renewable Energy Fund (REF) to compensate residents for going solar. The creation of the Renewable Energy Growth Program in 2014 made solar more affordable by providing a feed-in tariff of 32.25 cents for each kilowatt-hour they sell to the grid for the first 15 years of their system, which is much higher than the 19 cents residents would otherwise receive. Finally, additional solar incentives include the Sales Tax Exemption and Property Tax Exemption, which help reduce the overall costs of solar installation.